What is Boko Haram?

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Boko Haram is a Nigerian Islamic terrorist group that shuns anything Western related. Western things include voting in elections, wearing jeans, and secular education. Boko Haram was founded in 2002 was was labeled a terrorist group by the US in 2013. The group was lead by Mohammed Yusef until his death in 2009.

The official name of Boko Haram is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”. The name Boko Haram stems from a nickname for the group in Hausa, a local language, which translates to “Western education is forbidden”.

The group initially wanted to ban Western education, but now has grown to include overthrowing the current Nigerian government and creating an Islamic state in its goals. Boko Haram has instated a caliph in the areas it controls.

The CIA estimates that there are approximately 9,000 fighters fighting for Boko Haram.


Agbiboa, Daniel Egiegba. “Why Boko Haram Exists: The Relative Deprivation Perspective.” African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 3.1 (2013): 144-57.

Chothia, Farouk. “Who Are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?” BBC News. 4 May 2015. 


To read “Why Boko Haram Exists: The Relative Deprivation Perspective”, please see the attached document.

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